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  1. #1
    Member Roofles's Avatar
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    More car repair. Brake replacement

    So my front left brake rotor and pad is shot. I'm trying to figure out if I'm better off replacing it myself or taking it in to a shop.

    The car is a 95 Toyota Camry, so I'm hesitant to spend a bunch of money on a repair, one shop gave me a $300 quote for replacing rotors and pads on the entire front rather than just the trashed one.

    I'm trying to answer the following question, is it common for only one rotor to be replaced at a time? Or will this lead to odd pulling problems with having one brand new rotor and one older rotor on the front end (even with new brake pads on the whole front end)?

    I figured that I can get a new rotor for $40, and a new set of pads for the front for $35 so I have a $75 repair (plus my time, ~2 hours) rather than a $300 one...
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  2. #2
    Special Member ★ madhatter256's Avatar
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    What do you mean by 'shot'? Is it where the pads is gone and rotor is warped (thin?)?

    Is it leaking brake fluid?

    If it's leaking, then I recommend bleeding the brake lines.

    When was the last time you had a brake check and had that stuff replaced/serviced?

    If it's been a good while, then I'd take it to the shop and have them do it unless you have the time and knowledge to replace do the brake job. I recommend you do both side, well at least replace the pad on the other side.

  3. #3
    Member Roofles's Avatar
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    There are significant grooves in the rotor. My current car knowledge reference says that these are 'shot'. The pad itself also needs replacing.

    The lines are fine. I'm not sure when the last brake service was, but the rest of the brakes are fine.
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  4. #4
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    $300 was a quote for just parts correct? That is front right and left though... Problem with dealers is that they charge an arm and a leg for labor costs! Maybe you could just get a brake kit and take it to a mom and pop auto garage somewhere. Mom and pop are much better every time.
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  5. #5
    Member Roofles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChanceCoats123 View Post
    $300 was a quote for just parts correct? That is front right and left though... Problem with dealers is that they charge an arm and a leg for labor costs! Maybe you could just get a brake kit and take it to a mom and pop auto garage somewhere. Mom and pop are much better every time.
    Nope, that was a mom and pop shop for replacing the front rotors and pads on both sides.

    Its not bad, but still more than I was hoping for.
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  6. #6
    Member nd4spdbh2's Avatar
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    ya do it yourself....

    looking @ napaonline.com your looking at ~ 25 bucks for a full set of front pads and 27 bucks a piece for rotors ... so like 75 buck total, like you said, and it shouldnt be hard at all.

    jack car up properly, Take tire off, undo the two bolts that hold the caliper on, silde off rotor from hub, slide new rotor on, replace pads, put caliper back on, tire back on, repeat for other side.
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  7. #7
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    brake discs + pads is a really easy job, aslong as you have the correct tools.


    You'll need the socket/spanner for the caliper and the brake pad holder, and possibly a screw if the disc is screwed on. then you'll need a big pair of grips to push the piston back, then clean off all the caliper/holder copper slick it and put it all back together again, simples.
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  8. #8
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    I did this on my '01 Corolla using this guide: http://autorepair.about.com/od/fixit...padreplace.htm

    I was hoping to just change the pads, but I could not get the caliper on one of the rotors to compress so I had to change those out too and bleed the brake lines. It took me a few days because I didn't work at it all the time and wasn't too efficient. But the brakes don't squeal as much, though I think it may be the rear drums causing that, and it stops fine now.
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  9. #9
    Member Roofles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disk11 View Post
    I did this on my '01 Corolla using this guide: http://autorepair.about.com/od/fixit...padreplace.htm

    I was hoping to just change the pads, but I could not get the caliper on one of the rotors to compress so I had to change those out too and bleed the brake lines. It took me a few days because I didn't work at it all the time and wasn't too efficient. But the brakes don't squeal as much, though I think it may be the rear drums causing that, and it stops fine now.
    Pretty good guide. I've never replaced the rotors before but I've helped numerous times to change the pads. The website also points this out:
    Brake discs should always be replaced in pairs so that your car's driveability and safety are not compromised.
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  10. #10
    Member nd4spdbh2's Avatar
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    ya you cant just change one side and not the other..... it really sucks when you push the breaks and the car pulls to the left or right.
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  11. #11
    Member NiTrO bOiE's Avatar
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    Check out toyotanation. I skimmed the Gen3 Camry section and only found guides for doing the pads... but I'm sure if you search/ask they'll help you out with the steps. There's probably a guide somewhere on there buried.
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  12. #12
    Member vulcanman09's Avatar
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    if you have never changed the front brakes ( both sides )
    then it is best left to more qualified people to replace brake hardware

    remember you can be sued if you create an accident by faulty brake work
    ( especially if you are not a licensed mechanic )
    you need 2 special tools to replace brakes on import vehicles

  13. #13
    Member NiTrO bOiE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulcanman09 View Post
    you need 2 special tools to replace brakes on import vehicles
    Which would be?
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  14. #14
    Special Member ★ madhatter256's Avatar
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    I've seen brake pads and rotors changed with nothing but ratchets, wrenches, and screw drivers for both domestic and 'imports' (Honda, toyota, and Nissan).

  15. #15
    Member nd4spdbh2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madhatter256 View Post
    I've seen brake pads and rotors changed with nothing but ratchets, wrenches, and screw drivers for both domestic and 'imports' (Honda, toyota, and Nissan).
    ya same here i have done several "US" and several "imports" (toyota, honda, porche) and have never needed special tools.... screw drivers, ratchet and lug wrench... its about it. AND tbh i trust myself MUCH MUCH more than any mechanic every day of the week.
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  16. #16
    Member NiTrO bOiE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madhatter256 View Post
    I've seen brake pads and rotors changed with nothing but ratchets, wrenches, and screw drivers for both domestic and 'imports' (Honda, toyota, and Nissan).
    Quote Originally Posted by nd4spdbh2 View Post
    ya same here i have done several "US" and several "imports" (toyota, honda, porche) and have never needed special tools.... screw drivers, ratchet and lug wrench... its about it. AND tbh i trust myself MUCH MUCH more than any mechanic every day of the week.
    Exactly, which is why I was wondering what two special tools he's talking about. I have a Volvo and the pads/rotors can be changed just using sockets.

    I am aware cars do have "special tools" (bushing presses, crank holders, etc.) but most of the tools can be improvised using other things.
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  17. #17
    Member GBH's Avatar
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    Get your pads from autozone. Theyre cheap and once you need new ones, bring em to autozone and they replace em for free. I havnt had to pay for brake pads in a long ass time.
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  18. #18
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    You should let a mechanic do it, and do both front. If one side is shot, other side may be rather old and about to fail, and it would suck if the second brake set does go and you're forced to use brakes harder, wearing down your new brake set prematurely.

    Disc brake is far more complex than drum (more complex when you add ABS) but both has many parts (springs, caliper, pads, etc) and you need to fine tune the spacing when you put in the new parts. If you put something on wrong or don't adjust the brakes right, it will wear down prematurely as well as potential for catastrophic failure that leaves you with no brakes.

    If you haven't had any training in brake repair and/or haven't done any in a long time, it's better to pay someone to do it right. $300 is cheaper than traffic tickets, points, possible jail time or probation because you goofed on brake and ran into someone's car. And you can't put price on someone's lives other than maybe a 10 years in jail for manslaughter.
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  19. #19
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    if one side is worn and the other is not, you might have a sticky caliper. Disk brakes are easy to replace, calipers aren't hard either, just make sure you read up how to bleed the air out if you do decide to do it yourself. bleeding the air out of the system is easy as pie too. so don't get all discouraged... do both front brakes at the same time.
    I upgraded the brakes on my camaro a while ago, replacing everything, and it was harder finding the parts than the actual work to replace them.
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  20. #20
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    From the mouth of an Auto Tech:

    You CAN replace just one rotor, but it is not advisable for many reasons. If you are just trying to "get by" you could, but $75 dollars saving in the world of brakes (your life) is just not worth it. If you have a second car or someone who can drive you, then it might be advisable to remove both rotors and take them to a Napa and have them turned on a lathe. That is of course you have enough metal (meat) left over to meet minimum specifications. This is usually clearly stamped on the rotors. If not, list the Vehicle year, make and model and I will get you the min. specifications. Usually there is like a 15-20 dollar charge to turn your rotors. Brake pads you can usually pick up for cheap. Just remember, the cheaper the pads, the more they will squeak. (This is because materials vary and cheaper pads have more metal in them).

    Now for the actual repair. You will need a Jack, some Jack Stands (20 bucks at autozone) if you plan to get your rotors turned. A wheel chock or block of wood. A wheel lug removal tool or 19/17 mm with breaker bar. A set of metric combination wrenches and a pair of large Channel Locks.

    A couple notes:

    Do not let your caliper hang while working, use a coat-hanger to hold it up so you do not break the brake line/hose.

    While pushing back the brake piston, use the channel locks and the OLD brake pad, push very slowly so you do not break the piston, they can be fragile. (Some brake fluid may come out of the resevoir, this is normal if you have been topping your fluid off) clean with water only immediately.

    Be careful not to cross-thread your bolts. Finger tighten, then use wrench.

    And finally, DOUBLE/TRIPPLE check all bolts for tightness. These are your brakes and tires, you do not want them to fall off.

    And as a disclaimer: I always advise letting someone who knows how to do it show you first or at least supervise.
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